Dairy producers met in Grapevine, Texas this week for the joint annual meetings of National Milk, the National Dairy Board, and United Dairy Industry Association. National Milk’s Chris Galen reported Thursday that the highlight was the greater sense of optimism among attendees that 2010 will be a better year financially than 2009 was.
Discussion centered on what the Federation has done, both for the short term and the long term, to help improve dairy farm economics. Short term, the spotlight was on CWT activities and what might be done differently in 2010, Galen reported. Discussion also centered on what the Federation asked of Congress regarding reactivating the Dairy Export Incentive program, raising price supports, and purchasing cheese to stimulate farm prices in the short term.
A big focus of the meeting is what comes next, Galen said. Farmers recognize that the status quo in terms of dairy economics, can’t stand but must be changed, according to Galen, and the Foundation for the Future program was outlined which includes a multi facetted approach to changing the Federal order system, changing CWT, and changing dairy safety nets “with an eye toward making certain that this terrible price crisis that we’ve had can be averted in the future.”
The meeting wound up with an address by Dave Brandon, CEO of Domino’s Pizza, a partner with the dairy industry in selling more cheese on pizzas, and Jim Miller, an undersecretary at USDA, outlined the steps the Department has taken to help dairy farmers.